East Texas 5 to 11-year-olds begin to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine was given emergency use authorization Tuesday evening
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Kids ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. The CDC gave final recommendation Tuesday night to move forward with vaccinating kids.

“We’ve been awaiting this approval for some time,” CEO of the Northeast Texas Public Health District George Roberts said.

Roberts says Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is a third of the dose that adolescents and adults receive and has been reformulated specifically for kids.

“This has been through quite a bit of testing. You know, they’ve looked to see what the actual appropriate dosing should be, they’ve lowered the dosage requirements for this 5 to 11 age group,” Roberts said.

The pediatric Pfizer vaccine also lasts longer in storage compared to its vaccine authorized for adults and adolescents.

“We can maintain the doses in the refrigerator for up to 10 weeks now. Before, we could only maintain it for about four weeks in the refrigerator and it had to be if you wanted to keep it longer than that, it had to be in a super cold negative 70 degrees Celsius freezer, so a little different shipping and handling type of requirements now as well,” Roberts said.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted before authorization suggests 30% of parents will refuse to have their child vaccinated and 33% plan to wait and see. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says the vaccine is both safe and effective.

“Please know we have thoroughly reviewed all of the available safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy data before recommending this vaccine for your child,” Walensky said.

And in East Texas where vaccination rates remain low, Roberts urges everyone now eligible to get vaccinated.

“The hospitals will tell us almost 100% of the patients who had a very difficult course with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, so we know vaccination has been one of the real keys here,” Roberts said.

For more information on how to get a COVID-19 vaccine through NET Health, click here.

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